For a pretty homogenous rural BC community, sometimes we Coasters forget the incredibly diverse ethnicities of our home and native land. In Vancouver, one only has to head-swivel to be aware of the diversity inherent in our ‘Canadian-ness’. Here on the Sunshine Coast we are, some would say, handicapped by our uniformity… but it ain’t so. Our culture here is diversifying in ways both superficial and deep, and nowhere is this demonstrated more than in civic proclamations recognizing specific demographic groups.
On January 15th, Gibsons Mayor and Council proclaimed February 2013 as Black History Month, and in attendance was Bertha Clark, known to many as Adelene Da Soul Poet. Adelene is descended from the Alexanders, counted among the Black Pioneers of Canada. It’s hard to imagine such a bond across time and distance; like a spider’s web thrumming distantly from a touch across the galaxy of silken thread, the Sunshine Coast resonates with the vibrancy of cross-Canada voices – black voices.
Sunshine Coasters might also be surprised that our tiny little spot on the Canadian map has accounted for three of the 89 poets appearing in the new anthology of contemporary African Canadian Poetry, ‘The Great Black North‘, launching across Canada on February 1st, 2013.
Along with Bertha Clark (Adelene Da Soul Poet), African Canadian Congolese storyteller and writer Jean Pierre Makosso of Gibsons, and Lorna Goodison of Halfmoon Bay are included, and the anthology is co-edited by Gibsons’ Dr. Valerie Mason-John, who refers to herself as African Canadian Brit. That’s a lot of globe and wordsmithing for Coasties!
So please come on out on February 20th at GPAG (Gibsons Public Art Gallery) in Gibsons Landing for the coastal launch of The Great Black North to show your support of diversity, and to recognize our own Black History Month.
Throughout Black History Month these poets and story tellers will be available to perform in schools and colleges on the coast throughout the month of february. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book performers.
THE EVENING’S EVENT
6.30pm – Reception sponsored by MORES cafe and bakeshop and drinks by the IGA.
7.15pm – Opening remarks by the Mayor of Gibson
7.20pm – Performances by Adelene Da Soul Poet, Jean Pierre Makosso, Yvette Bouti Makosso and Valerie Mason-John
7.50pm – Launch of the Great Black North – Contemporary African Canadian Poetry – with readings from the poets and Question and Answer
8.20pm – Author Signings